Archive: Apr 2018

Fishing for a Cause 2018 Recap

Posted on: April 24, 2018

Fishing for a Cause

Dollar Energy Fund hosted its first fishing tournament, Fishing for a Cause, on Sunday, April 22, 2018. We welcomed more than 75 boats to Smith Mountain Lake – Parkway Marina, Virginia. The event raised $20,150, including a utility partner match, to assist limited-income customers of Appalachian Power Company maintain or restore basic electric service through our Virginia Neighbor to Neighbor Program.

The day started off before dawn with registration. Our anglers set out on the lake at 6:30 a.m. and didn’t return until the afternoon. When boats arrived back at the marina, our guests enjoyed lunch and an award presentation, where they received great giveaways and prizes.

Everyone who entered the tournament was eligible to win a grand prize of $5,000. Our lucky grand prize winner was Archie Musgrove of Wirtz. The boat with the biggest catch won a $3,000 prize, courtesy of New River Electrical Corp. The first place winner was a father and son team, Luke and Gary Nichols of Scruggs, with a total weight of 23.13 pounds. The tournament payout was one for every seven boats, so our top 10 anglers received a cash prize. Congratulations to all of our winners!

Team Member #1 Team Member #2 Boat # Fish Weight
Luke Nichols Gary Nichols 24 5/5 23.13
Donald Sheffey, Jr. Donald Sheffey 10 5/5 18.5
David Martin Greg Peters 72 5/5 18.37
Jeff Newman David Goins 23 5/5 17.36
Thomas Wooten Josh Wagy 67 5/5 16.9
Chris Brummett 22 5/5 16.49
Craig Blankenship Jimmy Blankenship 31 5/5 16.39
John Woodrood Dennis Middleton 62 5/5 16.29
Wyatt Blevins Gregory Osborne 7 5/5 16.16
Jared Witt David Witt 48 5/5 15.99


We want to thank everyone who helped with Fishing for a Cause. This event was made possible through a partnership with Appalachian Power Company and Conrad Brothers Marine. We are grateful to everyone at Conrad Brothers Marine, BassQuest, Parkway Marina and Appalachian Power for their excellent service and support – we could not have done it without you.

Dollar Energy Fund would also like to thank all of our sponsors for their generosity, including New River Electrical Corp., Townsend, Aerial Solutions, Elliot, Osmose, Uttermost, Orvis and Sportsman’s Warehouse. Their involvement was an integral part of making our event a success, and it goes a long way towards helping the families we serve.

At Dollar Energy Fund, we always encourage you to have fun while raising money for families and individuals who are on the path to self-sufficiency. Stay tuned for future events in Virginia by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

To view more photos from our fishing tournament, click here.

Fishing for a Cause

Fishing for a Cause

Dollar Energy Fund Celebrates 35 Years

Posted on: April 18, 2018

On April 19, 2018, Dollar Energy Fund will mark its 35th anniversary of helping our neighbors in need and kick off a year-long celebration to recognize the milestone. Since 1983, our organization has assisted 530,000 households by distributing more than $146 million in utility assistance. What began as a small coalition of concerned community and business leaders, has grown to become one of the largest hardship funds in the country.

The History of Dollar Energy Fund

While volunteering with a Pittsburgh television station’s community outreach efforts in 1983, Betty Ann Simon found herself inundated with calls from limited-income individuals seeking help with their mounting utility bills. This led local religious and community leaders to recognize that far too many of their less fortunate neighbors were unable to afford the cost of heat, electricity and water. In response to the growing crisis, a coalition of 24 community leaders formed Dollar Energy Fund. Since its inception, Dollar Energy Fund has been working to fulfill its mission to improve the quality of life for households experiencing hardships by providing utility assistance and other services that lead to self-sufficiency.

The grassroots effort, first operating with one employee in the basement of a church, was quickly joined by Duquesne Light Company and Peoples Natural Gas to help the organization’s limited-income customers. Dollar Energy Fund and the “Add-a-Buck for the Out-of-Luck” donation campaign were born. The next year, a second employee was hired and two years later the staff moved from the church to the Wightman School in Squirrel Hill where they remained until 1993. In 1993, the offices were moved to Pittsburgh’s Southside.

Many additional utility companies joined and donations steadily increased. Unfortunately, so did the need. Soon, Dollar Energy Fund was receiving thousands of applications and providing millions of dollars in utility grants each year. The organization responded to the need and stepped up fundraising efforts.

Then and Now

Many aspects of the organization are the same today as they were in 1983. The majority of funding is obtained through private donations and matching utility shareholder credits; each Hardship Program application is reviewed individually; and the focus is still on our clients and the mission. Dollar Energy Fund has also changed with the times. The organization, whose headquarters in Pittsburgh’s Southside features a state-of-the-art call center, has implemented iPartner, a custom web-based grants management system to assist in the administration of the Hardship Program. The number of utility partners has significantly increased and as a result, so has the number of clients Dollar Energy Fund is able to assist on an annual basis. Our capital and technological improvements have reduced grant distribution from two to four weeks to 24-48 hours, enabling those in need to get more immediate relief during a utility crisis.

As a part of a social enterprise venture, Dollar Energy Fund has grown its services. The organization now administers additional limited-income programs for a number of utility companies and has more than 147 full-time, part-time, casual and temporary employees.

Dollar Energy Fund has grown to become the largest hardship fund in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the nation. The organization has provided $146 million in utility assistance grants to more than 530,000 limited-income households – approximately 1.6 million individuals. The organization currently serves limited-income utility customers in twelve states, but additional expansions and utility partnerships continue to establish Dollar Energy Fund’s presence in other regions.

Though much has changed since 1983, the need to help our working poor and elderly neighbors remains, and Dollar Energy Fund is still working to fulfill its mission and meet the need.

Help Us Celebrate

We are excited to celebrate another major milestone in the history of our organization. The City of Pittsburgh will recognize Dollar Energy Fund with a proclamation during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.

Stay tuned for more celebrations, fundraisers and community outreach as we observe this milestone throughout the year. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.


Penguins fans win big with Dollar Energy Fund’s Fan Appreciation Night Raffle

Posted on: April 9, 2018

Through Dollar Energy Fund’s partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins, we set out to create the ultimate fan experience through our Fan Appreciation Night Raffle!

Dollar Energy Fund staff and Board Members sold raffle tickets during five Penguins games at PPG Paints Arena in March. Five finalists were selected from a pool of 1,100 entries for this one-of-a-kind opportunity. Each received two tickets to the Jim Beam© Make History™ Party Suite to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators final regular season game on Friday, April 6, 2018. One of our finalists was granted participation in the Shirts Off Our Backs selection process and guaranteed a trip down to the ice to meet a player and receive an autographed jersey.

Before the puck dropped, each of them had the opportunity to reach into a gift bag and select a hockey puck. The bag contained four autographed pucks and one non-autographed puck. The person who received the non-autographed puck was our grand prize winner and was able to join the Shirts Off Our Backs selection process. Click here to watch the video of the finalists discovering who won the grand prize.

Through Shirts Off Our Backs, Dollar Energy Fund’s grand prize winner received Jake Guentzel’s autographed jersey on the ice. Congrats, Fran!

Thank you to all of the Penguins fans who purchased raffle tickets. Each ticket resulted in a $5 donation for Dollar Energy Fund and all proceeds will be used to help our neighbors in need restore or maintain basic utility service.




Looking Back: 2017-2018 Mid-Year Review

Posted on: April 4, 2018

We are halfway through our 2017-2018 program year! Take a look at what Dollar Energy Fund has accomplished during the past six months, with the help of our staff, utility partners and supporters.

  • Mid-YearIn November, our Warm Your Hearth, Touch a Heart Campaign kicked off its 9th annual event with a reception at Hearth and Home Furnishings in Zelienople. Efforts to date have brought our nine-year total to more than $138,000, including a generous match from Peoples, to assist gas customers throughout Butler County.
  • Dollar Energy Fund was proud to be the presenting sponsor and benefiting charity of Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland this season.
  • Dollar Energy Fund began a partnership with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to establish a bill discount, lead line replacement, and hardship program for limited-income customers.
  • Duquesne Light Company supported Dollar Energy Fund during its Power It Forward campaign through a 24-hour social media fundraiser and text-to-give campaign that raised $10,000 for Pittsburghers in need.
  • Vineyard Vines in Ross Park Mall hosted an in-store 10/10 event. For a 3-hour period, every customer received 10% off their purchase while Vineyard Vines donated 10% back to Dollar Energy Fund.
  • Dollar Energy Fund hosted a new event with iHeartMedia and 3WS Pittsburgh called the Winter Warm Up Request-A-Thon where supporters could donate to request a song. The event raised more than $77,300 to provide utility assistance to approximately 215 Pittsburgh families and individuals who were struggling to stay warm.
  • Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania hosted a fundraiser in partnership with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which donated a portion of every Pittsburgh ticket sold to Dollar Energy Fund, totaling more than $12,200.
  • Mid-YearIn January, Dollar Energy Fund raised more than $222,000 during its 4th Annual Cool Down for Warmth event in Market Square, all with the help of local business leaders, sponsors, utility partners and many generous community individuals. The amount raised gave assistance to approximately 635 Pittsburgh families and individuals who were struggling to afford safe utility service.
  • During Cool Down for Warmth, we hosted a Bowls for Warmth Lunch in the Square Soup Tasting, where local restaurants participated in a soup challenge and served cups of soup to the lunchtime crowd. Fifteen local restaurants showed up to support Dollar Energy Fund and the lunch event raised over $20,000 in two days, including a match from our utility partners.
  • In February, Dollar Energy Fund’s 10th annual Warmathon on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA raised $150,000, which helped 430 Pittsburgh-area households.
  • Mid-YearThrough our partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins, we hosted a variety of fundraisers this season to expand our reach and awareness in the community. Our Jerseys for Warmth Auction and Fan Appreciation Night Raffle raised over $80,000 combined, including a match from our utility partners.
  • During the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show in March, Dollar Energy Fund teamed up with Dormont Appliance for a raffle to benefit limited-income Duquesne Light customers.
  • Dollar Energy Fund partnered with the Columbus Blue Jackets to raise funds and increase our reach in Ohio through a variety of different raffles, including the CannonBall, Jerseys Off Our Backs, and CBJ Special Jersey Auction.
  • Most importantly, Dollar Energy Fund has distributed over 15,303 grants, totaling more than $4,140,247 across the country since October 2, 2017. Since 1983, we have assisted 530,000 households by distributing $146 million in utility assistance.

With your help, we can continue to provide immediate and direct assistance during our 2017-2018 program year. Your contribution, no matter how big or small, can make an extraordinary impact by ensuring local, limited-income families maintain or restore safe utility service and get on a path to self-sufficiency. If you would like to get involved during this program year, subscribe to our email newsletters and get the latest updates. We have many more fundraising opportunities

On behalf of the many individuals, seniors and families we’ve helped, we thank you for your continued support!




April 2018
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Average Monthly Income of a Grant Recipient = $952.59